Saturday, January 16, 2010

Normandy Deploys to Support Humanitarian Operation in Haiti

The guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) prepares to get underway for possible disaster response to Haiti. Normandy and several other Navy vessels are underway to render humanitarian assistance after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Caribbean nation. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Remus Borisov/Released)

By Ensign Adam R. Cole, Normandy Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- The Norfolk-based guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) left Norfolk Naval Station Jan. 13 in support of relief response for Haiti, after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the nation.

Normandy, along with the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and other U.S. military assets, will conduct humanitarian assistance/disaster response (HA/DR) efforts once on station off the coast of Haiti.

The Norfolk cruiser was selected to escort the Carl Vinson, which was underway in the Atlantic Ocean. Normandy will embark the Anti-submarine Squadron Light 46, Detachment 3 in Mayport, Fla.

"Just by taking in all the news reports, we know that there is a lot of hurt and need taking place in Haiti right now," said Commanding Officer Capt. Jeffrey T. Griffin. "We want to assist in whatever way we can and in general, support the carrier. Our hope is to contribute to the restoration of the affected parts of their country."

Prior to getting underway, Normandy was in the midst of conducting a minor maintenance period. Sailors on board, in conjunction with contractors and outside support units, worked continuously to get the ship ready to deploy in support of HA/DR missions, and were able to do so in in just 15 hours.

The ship is carrying several hundred meals-ready-to-eat (MRE) and bottles of water that can be distributed as directed by the Southern commander.

"It was stressful…but we pushed through," said Ship's Serviceman 3rd Class (SW) Demarcus Debose, 23, of Dallas, Texas, who was a key member of the supply onload. "We're glad to be able to do this and help out."

A chance to help out was on the minds of nearly all of Normandy's crew members.

"This is what I wanted to do when I joined the Navy, to aid people," said Sonar Technician 3rd Class John Kenny, 21, from Port Charlotte, Fla. "We know there are a lot of people in need there and they don't have a lot of resources. I'm not sure what impact we'll be able to make, but I hope to do as much as we can."

All on board Normandy are empathizing with the victims and want to see their lives restored as much as possible.